I really wish HubPages would implement a simple English test before granting membership to new hubbers. It would save people wasting their time. I'm sure it could be automated. And I realise that some will copy and paste, but it might weed out some of the really bad ones.
At the very least, a notice on joining, warning people that only top notch English skills are acceptable.
Agreed. An English test and then if the article doesn't pass QAP, a link to the Learning Center instead of to the forums. Let newbie authors do some work on their own before coming to the forums to get help with polishing their articles. Hopefully both of those requirements would weed out people who will never be successful here and just wasting everyone's time.
Its a tricky one for Hubpages because they need the membership numbers to be going upwards. Implementing an English entry test would most likely negatively affect the membership numbers. Its a game of numbers, if they don't sign up for Hubpages, then they will sign up elsewhere and Hubpages wouldn't want that.
“its a tricky one for Hubpages…” Really?
It’s not tricky at all. We need accomplished writers to be going forwards. We don’t need time wasters who will probably never get featured, let alone get a spot on the niche sites.
And, in addition to a simple test:
“…if the article doesn't pass QAP, a link to the Learning Center instead of to the forums.”
is an excellent idea!
We could devise a simple 20 questions test based on a mixture of some of these online tests:
1. For comprehension
https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-y … l-english/
2. For grammar and spelling
https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/st … r-spelling
Or this one from Oxford Online English
3. https://www.oxfordonlineenglish.com/eng … st/grammar
The odds of an accomplished writer signing up for Hubpages might be extremely low. Hubpages is competing with other sites for accomplished writers. Filtering out would be members puts Hubpages at a competitive disadvantage. They will lose their in-house traffic, the forum discussions would be empty, the number of followers for most hubbers would reduce. It might take days before we receive a new accomplished writer. The overall standing of Hubpages would be severely affected.
I understand the need for quality and standards at Hubpages, but if they do not have the numbers, low quality sites would most likely outrank them.
"They will lose their in-house traffic, the forum discussions would be empty, the number of followers for most hubbers would reduce. It might take days before we receive a new accomplished writer."
In-house traffic and forum posts don't generate any revenue. The forum may, once again, become an interesting and useful feature without all the "help me pass QAP" posts which in fact is a means of HP management passing the buck of editing onto members.
It's fine to ask for specific advice on a specific issue in the forums. That is what it's for. But to expect members to read through or edit entire articles consisting of inferior content is asking a bit much.
In-house traffic is not designed to generate revenue, it is there to attract advertisers and sponsors. If you visit a site or page and you find the last forum discussion was last month, you are likely to skip that site for lack of activity.
Your argument is well justified, but implementing entry-level membership filters does more harm than good to the overall standing of Hubpages.
I would suggest some experienced hubbers can sign up as tutors, so that the QAP issues are directed at them. A lot of hubbers have shown a willingness to help new and struggling hubbers. Other hubbers can continue using the forums without complaining about the gibberish articles floating around.
This makes no sense to me, I'm afraid. Rarely does anyone who is a poor writer at the start, improve enough to become a decent earner. Yes, it does happen but those people who have the determination are few and far between.
HubPages is not competing for writers. There are more than enough hubs being published on a daily basis. What HubPages is competing for is advertisers, and if the site/s keeps publishing dross, those advertisers are going to leave.
You might notice that on hubpages.com there are a lot of poorly written articles. Sometimes I think the editorial team simply give up and allow articles to be featured when they really shouldn't be. Those articles wallow on the HP site, don't get much traffic, and don't earn any money (and I know there are exceptions). So having numbers over quality doesn't really work.
Internal traffic and forums don't matter at all. They are just to keep us interested.
I've suggested a simple English test for newbies long time ago. English is not my native language either, but I managed with a little help of the editors to get a few articles on the niche sites. I'm very grateful for the editors help because I learn a lot from them. I've learned English in school and nowadays they start teaching it in many primary schools in the Netherlands. I've lived in the States for two years (got married there 50 years ago), but speaking the language is quite different from writing it. I think most of the newbies from the last year(s) are using an online translation programm most of the time.
English not being my native language is the main reason I never respond to the cry for help to pass QAP in the forum, because I feel I'm not qualified to give a soud advice.
Funny, Titia, I find that some of our best writers are ESL writers, and it is a real joy to read their work. They take more care to use proper grammar, and maybe they learned more formal English and haven't been subjected to American and English street speech like native speakers have. I am a retired editor, 30 years as a legal editor, also 3 years as a newspaper copyeditor. I notice things like that.
Good idea. Also, I wish there was a way for writers to easily let other writers know about errors in their work.
For to what means you English simple?
Is am my not OK to write articals?
No, that's fine. Perfect. Click 'Write' to get started
Horray. Can u help pls with PayPal get? I no have can in my country PayPal account. What a shoot.
I've given up offering help to aspiring newbies. I found I was just writing the same things over and over again and changing nothing. English uses the definite and indefinite articles. You can't promote your apartment-finding service /IT company/best ever SEO provider in Mumbai or Islamabad. No, we don't want another diatribe about Kashmir. You can't steal images. This is not a blogging platform. You need to read the Learning Center. Etc, etc.
At my time of life, there can't be a lot of time left so I'll enjoy it as best I can writing about what interests me and finding good sources of inexpensive wine.
The problem is HP can't pay the salaries required to get it right.
As an example here's a flash fiction article that was rejected by one of HP's hires; they just don't get the nuances and Americanisms. Make your own conclusions.
How I Got My Armadillo
I decided I wanted an armadillo. Actually I have always wanted an armadillo. It’s just now I finally decided to do something about it.
I visited several pet shops. No armadillos.
I went to some animal shelters. No armadillos.
I finally went online. There were indeed armadillos. But it appears the Environmental Protection Agency also really likes armadillos. So much so that all the paperwork and other bureaucracy made it impossible to get one.
What was an armadillo lover to do?
I thought and thought. And then the brilliant idea occurred…
I went and bought myself a 3-D printer. They seem to be on sale all over the place now. Mine even had voice capability.
I took it home. I started reading the directions. Everything was fine. Until I got to the chapter on raw materials…
What raw material does one use to print an armadillo? I looked in the index. Nothing there regarding armadillos. Looks like I was stumped… But then I heard a noise at the window.
It was one of the neighborhood cats. I opened the window and brought him inside. I explained the situation to him. He wanted no part of it. I reminded him that he still had eight lives left and threw in a bribe that I’d feed him for a week. He thought about it and then agreed.
I put the cat in the printer.
I fired up the printer. “One armadillo,” said I.
“Specifications please,” said the printer.
Back to the instruction manual… There it was. Got to get the printing specifications/patterns for any given item one wishes to print.
Back online. To my utter lack of surprise, there were no armadillo schematics to be found. But then I had the insight to narrow my search. I limited it to .gov sites. The NSA popped up. I went there. And there it was. Armadillo schematic 42.
“What are they doing with that?” I wondered.
There was a comment box, but I decided not to ask. Downloaded the specs and departed.
Transferred the specs to the printer. The printer made various noises. Time passed. Sure enough, an armadillo began to appear. Took about a half-hour, but there it was. One complete armadillo.
It wasn’t moving.
“It’s not moving,” I told the printer.
“Taser it,” said the printer.
So I did. Apparently the spark-of-life thing. The armadillo stood up.
And that is how I got my armadillo.
LOL Love it too. One should read one of these every day before going to sleep. It makes a lousy day disappear in no time.
I love it. Funny and interesting. Poems and short stories including flash fiction perform poorly on Hubpages.
Amazing. You should try posting links to your stuff on Reddit if you want to get some traffic. People there love stuff like this. They prefer having to read the entire thing on Reddit, but having a link out to find more from you would get you some traction.
There are English tests on the Internet, and it is not hard to implement one as a screening process. When I apply for freelance writing gigs, there are times when I do one.
I've always wondered why there isn't some type of screening. A basic writing sample as part of the sign-up criteria would cover everything. But I believe Al has a point - it's about numbers. This issue has come up often over the years. HP would have addressed it if they wanted by now. It's not in their model. The QAP is the screening.
I think the main problem is that most such requests for help end up on a sour note.
The one posting the request openly asks for editing, etc. Or, they ignore advice given and report the request later.
Or, they react negatively. (I just had a case of this) They give lame excuses bordering on accusations. Some of the most appalling ones even pull in religious beliefs. Such as I am a "....." It's my style to be moral, kind etc etc.
Personally, I think what's most frustration is that many of these powerful writers obviously do not even read English articles; their grammar errors are that elementary. Thus, whatever guide HubPages direct them to, they probably wouldn't even read it, or understand the instructions. The best way might be for HubPages to prepare a better email response, one that at least detail the things we keep regurgitating. I believe this would at this screen out some of the really unbothered ones.
I think that if HP sent them an email saying "Your English is horrible. You are never going to be a writer on this site" they would still post on the forums and ask for help.
"But, everyone I now tell me my English is and better and I shewld be a writer"
I just read all those nasty comments that guy made to you. That is unfortunately all too common, and why I assume such a hostile persona when I am talking to the newbies.
Not all of us are conversant in English language since some of us are not English native speakers. If Hubpages implements English tests and some fail taking it, it will crush their dreams of being writers although it's evident there are some who are out for the sole purpose of making money. They don't care whether their content is educational, informational, or helpful.
I joined Hubpages over nine years ago. My English wasn't very bad. It was at least acceptable. I have made strides because of continuously posting and editing my articles on various revenue article sharing sites. Let's give them an opportunity to develop their talent/gift and to strength their English language.
Although it is obvious some writers never bother to edit their articles. Their raw articles become finished products at one go.
Sometimes, it is difficult to choose.
Of course not, but it's very obvious when the new hubber really needs to go off and work on their language skills before being published here. To keep writing and have your articles rejected is disappointing and disempowering. Especially if the person has real latent talent. However, this is a site for English readers and speakers so those skills are necessary.
As someone who is utterly hopeless at languages, I am constantly amazed how brilliant some people are at writing in English, even though it's not their first language. It's like a magical power to me
You helped me with your advice and I will always be grateful for it.
Now, I get you. You're right that people should put an effort in improving their English language.
Ben, I think that you are confusing writers whose ability to write in English is fairly good and just need some practice with writers who have almost no ability to speak, read or write in English. Some of them even use translation software and their grasp of English is so tenuous that they don't realize that what the software has produced is gibberish. It is these writers to whom we are referring. They will never be published here unless they are willing to put in the work to learn to speak, read and write English. The majority of those writers are not willing to do any work to improve their English. They just want to earn a fast buck.
I think the QAP process is generally good enough at screening out the worst articles. That's the important thing. The people posting in the forums for help have already been rejected usually.
Just ignore the requests for help in the forums if it's due to lack of English skills, take a deep breath and don't get involved. Responding just keeps the requests up near the top of the forum list.
As long as the vast majority of bad articles don't get published and bring the overall quality down, I'm happy.
You've made me recall a question I've had for months. Sometimes I see a forum started by an established writer of several years asking people to read his/her article and express their opinions. I haven't responded because it seemed to me that it was just a ploy to get people to read the article and build traffic on it. These people don't seem to be asking for help getting an article published. Do I have the wrong impression, or do some people do this?
I have seen the "help me improve my article" feature used for self promotion too.
On a more general note, ignoring unwanted forum posts has proved to be an effective way to make irritating posts eventually disappear.
I've long wondered about something. When you type a nonsensical word into a capsule, a wavy red underline will appear to highlight your error. Same when there is no space after full stops.
Does that appear for everyone? Asking 'cos I'm baffled why some so many of these unfeatured writers do not suspect something is wrong in the face of a sea of red.
It's because you have spellcheck enabled in your browser. So useful. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Bev already answered you, but in addition to what she says, you can have spell check enabled and have your browser set up in another language. In that case, everything you type is going to be underlined and you'd therefore not know what is wrong (if you don't really know how to spell a word). Whenever I write in German I see a pool of red.
I think back when HP first instituted the policy of automatically linking writers to the forums when their articles do not pass the QAP, forum-goers were more eager and happy to help, due to at least these four reasons:
1. There were many, many more active forum members (hundreds of them), so the burden did not fall on a small group.
2. Members had not yet grown weary of what would become a constant stream of people asking for free editing and Hubbing lessons as a result of HP automatically linking people to the forums when their hubs do not pass the QAP.
3. The internal search function worked well back in those days, so writers could search a key word or two and find useful posts on whatever topic they needed help with, meaning they could more easily find help on their own, reducing the number of repetitive forum requests.
4. The Learning Center was neatly and logically organized -- with subheads, by topic -- rather than today's endlessly scrolling screen of articles in what seems like random order, which again as in #3 above, meant newbies were more likely to be able to find help on their own, which lowered the number of repetitive forum posts.
So today, with only a handful of active forum members left, an internal search function that doesn't work well at all and a Learning Center in which it is difficult to find relevant, helpful information, it is no wonder the forum regulars have grown tired of answering the same questions over and over and over in the numerous automated help request posts.
When I was a new hubber I asked probably more than my fair share of newbie questions and am very grateful for the polite, encouraging answers I received. Once I understood the site better, I made a concerted effort to pay it forward and do my share of helping newbies. However, once forum user numbers dwindled and the forums became an uninteresting stream of repetitive automated posts asking for help, I became frustrated and lost interest.
I would love to see HP implement an automated, basic English test.The way the QAP is set up currently, it does waste people's valuable time. It wastes the time put in writing articles by those who are not yet fluent enough in English to pass the QAP, and it wastes the time of the forum members who use part of their day to voluntarily read and answer the help requests, giving the same basic answers over and over. I can understand why these forum members are frustrated.
I admire the "old-timers" who stick with it, every day answering yet another batch of the same questions, sometimes getting angry responses in return. They are under no obligation to help, yet they do. If there is a bit of snark in their answers, maybe that's a sign that the automated forum-posting feature has worn out its welcome and it is time for Maven to make changes to the system so that it is more in line with the state of HP in 2020.
A basic English competency test is a step in that direction, IMHO. Going back to the old internal search function that not only worked better than today's but also separately searched articles and forum posts would help, also, as would restructuring the Learning Center landing page by using subheads and placing help articles in logical groups.
Just my two cents.
And extremely valuable two cents they are
I really can't bear when people don't get answers to their questions and requests for feedback, otherwise I'd have stopped doing it ages ago.
And you are right, when I read utter tosh, especially misogynistic, 19th century claptrap (like 'this is helpful for females in the kitchen'), I do get snarky. Those articles deserve all the snark they get
Having said that, when I read an article where the writer has clearly put in a ton of work, has made the effort to write something original and engaging, it makes it worthwhile and it's a pleasure to help them out.
But, yes, basic automated English test (with built-in plagiarism checker), please, staff.
Sorry for the late reply, but just wanted to say you really are a star for giving so much of your time and expertise. HP/Maven is very fortunate that you do so much for them. I hope they realize it.
Doesn’t the Hubpro promotion take care of this? A difficult to read article will not be promoted to a better site.
I think that’s enough.
by GwennyOh 5 weeks ago
An observation: sometimes threads critiquing people's English skills get taken down. However, it's usually when people derail the thread or when people are a little harder on the writer than necessary. However, with the onslaught of poor language and grammatical skills on the site lately, it's...
by Jason B Truth 5 days ago
This is my first time coming into this forum for constructive criticism and advice regarding an article of mine. Now that the comments sections in most articles on this writing platform have been disabled with the new format, it is good that this forum is available. The name of the...
by Bev G 14 months ago
The forum is full of requests for help with articles but I have never seen such a collection of absolute rubbish. Mostly from people who have been here a matter of hours.Does it not occur to anyone to do a bit of research before publishing? Find out what works and what doesn't?Please spend some...
by Don Bobbitt 2 years ago
It looks like a fourth of my feed lately is comprised of new people wanting the rest of us to tell them how to write. All day I get request after request for help on passing the Quality Assessment. I mean Really? Many of your requests are just one step above being a jumble of mis-spelled words...
by Tessa Schlesinger 3 weeks ago
So here's the historyIt always did wellYou did some snips (whatever that means). But you changed the photos. I put them back. I also added some writing.You did a professional edit.You totally removed all the photos. They were absolutely horrific, and you told me that they didn't fit in some...
by Kyriakos Chalkopoulos 2 years ago
Hi! I thought of asking how many other people are in the same - rather difficult! - position, of struggling with words and taking journeys in their imagination so as to create nice new stories... I work as seminar lecturer and translator, but my works of fiction are by far more important for...
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